The future of the premium car is in doubt. Or at least, the definition of premium is going to change.
We can talk about the dealership experience as long as we like. But let’s be honest, in years to come that won’t be relevant. The original article raises an intriguing point; alluding to younger professionals’ apathy towards car ownership. A core brand design philosophy is a wise move for companies seeking to maintain a distinctive appeal, but will become increasingly irrelevant in a world in which the desire to own a car has lost its ubiquity.
Looking at the Chinese market is a valid point for the short term, but the risk is that focusing on China will lead to hiccups at a later juncture. China’s concern over emissions in Tier 1-4 cities have led to severe restrictions upon car ownership, and combined with the exorbitant taxation of foreign luxury goods this puts any motor manufacturer reliant upon China in a perilous position.
The main thrust of the article – the value of technology – is sharp. There can be no doubt that environmental issues will force the use of technology to ensure motor manufacturers clean up their act, but an ever-increasing number of driver aids appear to be luring us toward what is an inevitable – and potentially appealing – conclusion.
Mercedes-Benz are looking at the concept of the driverless car again – they’ve been at it since the 1970s, and now they’ve replicated the 100km drive in which Bertha Benz demonstrated the viability of the motor car. Except that this time they’ve done it without a driver. Automated cars cannot be far away now – and, without driver involvement and enjoyment to consider, will premium brands really need a motorsport pedigree? Worse; could we be looking at the end of the Ultimate Driving Machine?